Posts Tagged ‘#AgentsFirst’

Graphic welcoming Rebecca Wood and Theresa Kane-Mackenzie

New Hires Rebecca Wood And Theresa Kane-Mckenzie Represent Our Commitment To You

Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are known as the “Sunshine,” “Keystone” and the “Garden” states respectively. They are each aptly named due to Florida’s perpetual rays, Pennsylvania’s colonial history and New Jersey’s lush orchards and farms. Within Alliant National, however, these states are known for something else: Each region offers incredible opportunities to empower the independent agent. Read how the underwriter is investing resources in both areas through two strategic hires, which will enhance its operations overall up and down America’s east coast.

Florida – A Rich Past and a Strong Future

Florida is one of those states that everyone knows even if you’ve never been there. Sprawling beaches. Delicious oranges. Disneyworld. The Everglades. At Alliant National, Florida is also well known, as it is one of the organization’s largest and oldest markets.

Alliant National started operating in Florida in 2009 and has seen stunning success over the last 15 years. Headed by SVP, Florida Regional Manager, Debra Coffie, and featuring underwriting leadership from Jeff Stein and Brenda Cannon, the company’s presence in the state has grown from a small shop to a sprawling network encompassing hundreds of agents. Despite these achievements, Alliant National is not resting on its laurels. “While we have experienced significant year-over-year growth,” said Coffie, “there is still ample potential to further impact in the market.”

Alliant National has seized this potential by continuing to invest in Florida, an important move given the state’s ever-increasing population and bustling real estate market. According to experts, Florida is one of the nation’s top relocation destinations. In late 2023, 4 of the top 10 cities for incoming residents were in Florida – including Orlando, Sarasota, Cape Coral and Tampa.[i]

Alliant National recently hired Rebecca Wood as Assistant Regional Counsel and VP to keep up with this demand and ensure that agents have adequate support. A long-time Floridian, legal professional and title insurance expert, few people are better equipped to take on this newly created role. Armed with three decades of experience, Wood is an industry authority and consummate professional. She is comfortable managing everything from analyzing legal details and risk assessments to interfacing directly with agents and claims professionals.

Alliant National Florida-based agents are undoubtedly in good hands with Wood joining the team.

Pennsylvania and New Jersey – High Growth and a New Frontier  

From one perspective, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are the opposite of Florida. One area is often cool, while the other is hot. One is in Canada’s orbit, and the other borders the Gulf of Mexico. Yet at Alliant National, these seemingly unrelated regions share a common characteristic: thriving title communities with which to build partnerships and drive shared success.  

Overseen by SVP, Central-West Regional Manager, Manoj Purohit, Alliant National has been active in Pennsylvania since 2022 and is aiming to expand due to encouraging market signs. While housing inventory and affordability remain low in much of the state, significant urban areas near its western border offer competitive price points that have attracted sizable numbers of aspiring home buyers. Pittsburgh and Erie in particular reported median listing prices in late 2023 far lower than the national average of $412,000 from that same period[ii] – making both metros major domestic migration destinations.

New Jersey is an entirely new market for Alliant National, although its decision to establish operations is fueled by a similarly optimistic market picture. The Federal Reserve announced in recent months, for example, that further interest rate increases are unlikely in the year ahead, causing mortgage costs to trend downward. On top of this, aspiring home buyers are flooding into the state from neighboring big cities like New York, increasing the potential for robust real estate demand.

Alliant National’s New Jersey operations will also be overseen by Purohit, who commented that both states area great opportunity waiting to be realized. “As it has across the country, Alliant National’s ‘agent only’ business model resonates deeply with independent agents in this region,” he said.

Alliant National’s hiring of Theresa Kane-Mackenzie is the most significant step it has taken in the region so far. With Kane-Mackenzie at the helm, the underwriter will develop its agency network and offer the type of uncommonly valuable help on which it has forged its reputation. “We expect to see strong growth and greater market share by bringing a proven industry veteran like Theresa on-board to head up our expansion efforts,” said Purohit.

Kane-Mackenzie’s vast expertise will be incredibly helpful in bringing this goal to fruition. Having built a respected, multi-decade career, Kane-Mackenzie has done it all. She has worked everywhere from national underwriters to title insurance technology providers. Her resume also includes experience in everything from underwriting and title production to marketing and continuing education. She is a one-stop shop that both current and future regional agents can leverage to improve processes and better serve customers.

Wherever you are, Alliant National is committed to you!

Alliant National has long invested in its greatest resource: its people. Recent steps in Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey reveal the depth of that commitment. The story of these two areas shows that Alliant National’s founding principles are alive and well in the present day. If you’re an independent agent, it doesn’t matter where you are or how long you’ve been with us, Alliant National is dedicated to ensuring that you always come first.


[i] Florida Housing Market Predictions: Forecast for the Next 5 Years (themortgagereports.com)

[ii] Median Home Price By State 2024 – Forbes Advisor

3 players reaching for a basketball

How To Team Build Year Round

There is no off-season for building effective teams.

In our working lives, we hear a lot of chatter about team building. Yet, even though it is widely acknowledged that strong teams are the cornerstone of successful businesses, the exact mechanisms for how you build them are less clear-cut.  

For Stacy Stolen, HR Director at Alliant National, creating an environment where staff feel connected, safe and collaborative requires a holistic, year-round approach. She shared insights on how to successfully implement team building in your organization for impactful results.Team building: A critically important conceptWhile incredibly important, team building can sometimes feel cliché and superficial, evoking images of trust falls and three-legged races. Yet when done correctly and with genuine, year-round commitment, few things can be as impactful for creating high- functioning organizations. But why exactly should you prioritize team building? “The lone wolf is becoming an endangered species,” said Stolen, when discussing the subject. “From health care to hospitality, startups to big business, teamwork has become the favored way to get things done.” This view is echoed by those who study team building. “The world is so complex, no one person has the skills or knowledge to accomplish all that we want to accomplish,” says Susan McDaniel, PhD, a psychologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center who is known for her scholarship on team-based work. “Interdisciplinary teams are the way to make that happen.”[i]Here are some of the tangible benefits agencies can realize through investing in team building: ·         Enhanced collaboration: When teams understand and trust one another, it becomes easier to communicate openly and honestly, which reduces silos and promotes alignment.

  • Better employee morale and retention: Meaningful team building promotes safety, camaraderie, and care. This can lead to lower turnover and higher retention. Higher productivity and profitability: Close-knit teams promote the free exchange of ideas and faster, more impactful feedback, which results in higher productivity and profitability.Improved organizational culture: Team building creates a more affirming, positive and compelling culture. When teams like, respect and collaborate well with one another, businesses enjoy easier recruitment and competitive advantage in the market.
  • How to Team Build Year Round Clearly, team building can deliver big benefits, but establishing a year-round team building program can be a tall order, especially at a busy agency. Still, there is no need to feel overwhelmed, says Stolen. “Begin by breaking it down into bite-size steps. Start by defining what teamwork means to your organization and do your research. Also, never take a ‘cookie cutter’ approach to teamwork. Make it your own and ensure it is a good fit for your team.”This last point is a critically important one, particularly when viewed in the context of remote work. “As a new manager, or first-time manager, you now have the unique freedom to choose talent from all over the world,” said Stolen. “But you also face an equally unique challenge: Leading a team who you may have never met in person. This includes building trust and camaraderie between people in different time zones.”But whatever type of team building program you land on, make sure it’s sustainable. Without easily repeatable plays, you won’t be able to continue nurturing a strong team at different points of the year. Keep it simple and do not overthink it. Some strategies aligned with this philosophy include:·         Build “buffer time” into your meetings that leaves time to chat openly and informally. ·         Do ice breakers/team builders at as many meetings as you can. This creates increased cooperation, builds trust and creates a sense of belonging.·         Create “team rituals,” repeated actions or activities unique to your team and help them bond. Rituals can be as simple as “Meme Monday,” where everyone shares an image or GIF that captures how their weekend went. ·         Avoid communication gaps by scheduling a daily stand-up meeting for people to share updates. This process can also be repeated over digital channels like Zoom.·         When it comes to meetings, share the pain. Consider the different time zones your teammates are in and rotate start times so that everyone has a few convenient meetings on their schedule.·         Create an Employee Resource Group.Team building can be difficult but well worth the effort Finding time to develop new initiatives at a busy title agency can be a formidable challenge. Yet the importance of well-executed team building can’t be understated. Sticking to these tips can help you create a well-honed operation that delivers results. Better yet, says Stolen, you’ll create an ideal environment that meets your team’s “individual work preferences and needs.”

    graphic welcoming Theresa Kane-Mackenzie to Alliant National

    Alliant National Welcomes Theresa Kane-Mackenzie as AVP & State Agency Manager Pennsylvania & New Jersey

    Kane-Mackenzie will help lead Alliant National’s operations in the region.

    Longmont, CO — (January 16, 2024) — Alliant National Title Insurance Company, the title insurer that is uniquely responsive to the needs of independent agents, is pleased to announce the hiring of Theresa Kane-Mackenzie as AVP & State Agency Manager PA & NJ.

    Kane-Mackenzie comes to Alliant National with over 25 years of experience in the real estate and title insurance industries. She has worked for companies ranging from national underwriters to providers of specialized technology solutions for title insurers. She also brings along vast expertise in underwriting, real estate technology, title production, continuing education and customer service. By pairing this industry knowledge with her person-centered approach throughout her career, Kane-Mackenzie has gained unique insight into the market and routinely delivered the best possible results for Pennsylvania and New Jersey title agents.

    At Alliant National, Kane-Mackenzie will be at the helm of the company’s operations and expansion efforts throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. She will work collaboratively with policy-issuing agents to strengthen and streamline their procedures, processes, and workflows. She will also assist with business planning and continuing education initiatives. In keeping with Alliant National’s mission, Kane-Mackenzie will channel these activities toward empowering independent title agents to grow their businesses while increasing the company’s market share in the region.

    “With her 25+ years of experience in both agency and vendor relations, Theresa is a tremendous addition to our regional agency team,” said Manoj Purohit, Senior Vice President, Great Lakes Regional Manager for Alliant National Title Insurance Company, in discussing her hiring. “She will be an integral part of our expansion into the Pennsylvania and New Jersey markets, and we are excited to have her at Alliant National.”

    “It is a pleasure to join Alliant National as it grows its presence across Pennsylvania and New Jersey,” said Kane-Mackenzie. “Since it began operating in 2005, Alliant National has become the premier independent underwriter for the independent agent. I am looking forward to becoming part of this team of incredible title professionals and delivering business gains for our policy-issuing agents.”

    Kane-Mackenzie is an active member of the Pennsylvania Land Title Association (PLTA). She has previously served on the board of several trade and philanthropic organizations. She currently lives in New Jersey with her family.  

    Alliant National supports its independent agents by combining expert residential and commercial underwriting with a passionate heart for service. The company delivers uncommon help that promotes the well-being of agents and the communities they serve.

    Media Inquiries

    Adam Mohrbacher
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    e: amohrbacher@clockworkpr.net
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    About Alliant National Title Insurance Company

    Alliant National is on a mission to empower independent agents while protecting property owners with secure title insurance. The company partners with its agents and never competes against them with direct or affiliate operations. Alliant National serves thousands of title professionals as a licensed underwriter in 32 states and the District of Columbia.

    Visit alliantnational.com for additional information and follow Alliant National on LinkedIn and Facebook for the latest company updates.

    Rae Jeanne Steele - Meet Your Advantage Tam member spotlight graphic

    Your Advantage: Rae Jeanne Steele Exemplifies Persistence and Service in Title Insurance

    Alliant National’s Rae Jeanne Steele discusses the values that have defined her career.

    Rae Jeanne Steele is no title industry newbie. Having built a successful career spanning several decades, she has a vivid perspective on how the field has changed over time. Yet Steele’s story also speaks to the age-old saying: “The more things change, the more they stay the same.” While technology, processes and workflows have shifted from year-to-year, Steele’s commitment to persistence, relationship-building and service have remained just as relevant as ever. These values are front and center in her work today at Alliant National.

    Steele’s first exposure to the industry was in the 1980s when she started helping at her mother’s Texas-based real estate agency. Back then, the industry barely resembled what it is today. As Steele explains, “I can remember when we had an MLS book that was printed once a month. Nothing could be updated digitally the way it is now, and so, by the time you wanted to show a property, it might already be unavailable. Then there was the actual process of getting into a home, where you would have to call individual brokerage offices to schedule a showing and pick up the keys.” Over time, of course, technology started to change the industry. According to Steele, today “AI, mobile apps, smart home technology and digital lock boxes are all being used to streamline operations.”

    Even amid such profound technological transformation, Steele’s approach to her work has remained remarkably consistent year-after-year. Many of her professional values originated from the period when she returned to working at her mother’s real estate agency in the mid-1990s, this time as a fully licensed agent. “My mom taught her realtors to have persistence when going after a goal,” said Steele. But that wasn’t all she learned back then. She also saw how much importance her mom placed on relationship building: “Following up. Building relationships. Keeping up with relationships. These are things I learned at a very young age from her.”

    Other values that have grounded her over the years include having a spirit of service, and not just in her professional life. A long-time volunteer at her church, Steele and her family have frequently been involved in charity work, including scheduling, coordinating, cooking, and serving meals for hundreds of people as just one example.

    Keeping these values close has served Steele well as she progressed in her career and eventually found her way to Alliant National in 2021. Persistence has been key, for instance, in her taking an active, intentional approach to expanding her industry knowledge and dealing with difficult professional moments. Instead of merely hoping to “live and learn,” for instance, she has chosen to rely on “education instead of merely experience to overcome challenges.” Her people skills have also been highly useful, particularly in achieving consensus around challenging topics with diverse parties: “I think one of the most surprising aspects of my job is the amount of time I spend explaining regulatory differences between real estate brokerages and title companies. There is a huge need to bridge that gap.”

    As for the spirit of service that has long animated Steele’s life? Well, that is not just a feature of Alliant National but baked into its very foundation. “Alliant National is building a company where every agent can find a home,” she explained. She then noted how this requires serving agents’ needs by focusing on tangible business value. Steele dubs this approach as delivering “serious service based on sells” – that is, service that revolves around helping agencies gain advantage in real dollars and cents.

    One way that Alliant National accomplishes this is through delivering topical educational resources through Alliant National Academy. Policy issuing agents of Alliant National have access to a growing catalogue of classes that focus not just on title insurance but also hot topics like leveraging AI for business gain. In addition, there are courses on how agents can nurture relationships with key stakeholders such as Realtors for mutual benefit. For Steele, offering these resources is not merely a competitive differentiator in the marketplace. It aligns perfectly with Alliant National’s overarching mission to empower agents, protect property owners and inspire innovation throughout the industry.

    Our industry is always in flux, yet it’s timeless values like persistence and a commitment to service that provide our solid foundation. These are the principles that professionals like Rae Jeanne Steele bring to the forefront, equipping you with the unwavering support necessary to deliver the exceptional service your clients expect.

    Tia Hall - Meet Your Advantage Tam member spotlight graphic

    Your Advantage: It’s All About Community for Alliant National’s Tia Hall

    In a varied career split between law enforcement, real estate and title insurance, Tia Hall has been driven by a desire to provide support to her community.

    For nearly 25 years, Tia Hall has remained steadfastly committed to her community. From her early career in criminal justice to her current responsibilities at Alliant National, she has long been motivated by helping others. Well-versed in making departments and organizations operate more effectively, Hall’s work at Alliant National is invaluable to its Southeast operations.

    Hall’s career path wasn’t a straight line, but rather a winding journey that brought together seemingly disparate fields in a harmonious blend. For well over a decade, Hall served as a criminal justice specialist for Cobb County in Georgia. However, one of Hall’s main responsibilities during these years would prove advantageous to her later career. Hall’s focus in criminal justice often revolved around community outreach and enabling officers to engage more productively with vulnerable populations. “Working within law enforcement is very strenuous work,” Hall said, reflecting on why such work is critical. “You are dealing with a lot of people from different walks of life.”

    As fate would have it, Hall would come to interact with a group of people immersed in real estate. “I often interacted with lawyers and others in real estate,” she stated, “especially when I was working on real estate code enforcement.”

    While she was forming these connections, Hall was taking other steps that would eventually pave the way toward her joining the title insurance industry. Building from a foundation in criminal justice and psychology, Hall began studying real estate and became a notary public , working as a loan signing and closing agent. Throughout all these professional moves, Hall’s motivation remained the same: “I wanted more community connections.”

    In 2022, Hall made the leap into the career she has today, joining the Alliant National team as the Southeast Support Administrator. At Alliant National, Hall works with every department – from HR to continuing education to accounting – to ensure that agents are empowered to execute on behalf of their clients. Calling upon her long history of driving growth, as well as diverse skill sets in administration, resource management, data protection, team building and more, she acts as a one-stop shop for agents and employees throughout the Southeast.

    One important aspect of Hall’s day-to-day work is protecting the large quantities of personal information that are part and parcel with the title insurance profession. This is another area where she is well-served by her previous experiences in law enforcement. When working with the Georgia Bureau of Investigations (GBI), for instance, Hall developed an acute appreciation for data protection. “There is a huge paper trail in this work,” she said, emphasizing that the failure to protect such data could quite literally ruin lives.

    Now settled into her new career, Hall had several things to say when asked to sum up her experience, as well as the connection between her current responsibilities and yesterday’s roles. For her, helping the community is at the heart of both professions: “I love people. I love communicating. And I love to be a help for those in need.”

    However, it’s in title insurance that Hall has found an ideal platform to pursue this passion, even more so than in law enforcement. “This industry is more close-knit,” she said, before noting how new employees can benefit from leveraging the field’s strong sense of community. When asked about what younger or less experienced workers should know, she remarked, “Employees need a strong foundation, as well as support to not get lost.”

    For Hall, that communal support was what helped her as she made her initial foray into the business. It is also what continues to fuel her today as she works to deliver results for Alliant National’s agents. “At Alliant National, it is always easy to reach out if you need something. We’re always there for each other.”

    With community-minded employees like Tia Hall amongst its ranks, Alliant National’s agents can rest assured that someone will always be there for them too.

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